When Mitch Canham makes his managerial debut with the Clinton LumberKings next April, it will be his first time coaching at a professional level.
According to The Herald of Everett, Wash., Canham made a lasting impression on Andy McKay, the Seattle Mariners’ new director of player development, when they first met almost a decade ago.
The two men met nine years ago when Canham, a 2003 graduate of Lake Stevens High School, was playing summer baseball in Alaska. McKay, his coach that summer, recalls being struck by Canham and not just as a player. In fact, McKay was so impressed personally “that I remember making some crazy comments at the time,” he said. “Things like, ‘This guy is going to be a big-league manager someday.’ And, ‘This guy is going to be the president of a company someday.’
“He was a tremendous leader. He has a presence about him that is so authentic and genuine that it’s very hard not to be drawn to him.”
You can read about Canham’s vision as a coach in the Herald story, found here.
Canham was a supplemental first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2007, and played eight minor-league seasons in affiliated baseball (for five different organizations) from 2007 to 2014. He played 74 games of indie-league ball in 2015 before retiring as a player.
He starred as a catcher for Oregon State University, which won back-to-back NCAA Division I national championships (2006 and 2007) while he played there.
Canham is the founder and CEO of BASE By Pros, a company that provides instruction and mentoring to young athletes across the country. He will continue to be involved with online instruction while his partner, former major-leaguer Brent Lillibridge, will coordinate camps and clinics.
Clinton’s pitching coach will be Rich Dorman, whose nine-year playing career in the minors included 24 relief appearances and one start for the 2003 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He went 1-2 with a 2.80 ERA, four saves, 62 strikeouts and 24 walks in 45 innings.
Dorman will be entering his eighth season as a pitching coach in the Mariners organization. He was Clinton’s pitching coach in 2011, when the LumberKings staff included current Mariners pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton.
The Mariners haven’t named a hitting coach for the LumberKings.